Marbled Coffee and Almond Cupcakes

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One of my best friend’s is a coffee lover so when I was heading up to stay with her for the weekend in St Albans, I decided to make a coffee-based treat. I didn’t have loads of time, so wanted an easy and quick recipe that would still make a good impression. After looking at various recipe books and online, I found this Marbled Coffee and Almond Cupcake recipe in the 200 Cupcakes book by Hamlyn. This is a brilliant little book with fantastic recipes that I have played with on numerous occasions. And it’s super cheap too – bonus! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hamlyn-All-Colour-Cookbook-Cupcakes/dp/0600620786

I love the marbled effect, so easy and yet people are always impressed with it. I also love how you can mix different flavours. You can substitute the coffee with chocolate (I would guess about 10 – 20g cocoa powder), fresh raspberries or strawberries (crush 75g with tablespoon caster sugar) in this recipe. But there are other fantastic mixes I want to try, you can check them out here:

Marbled Coffee and Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 125g lightly salted, softened butter
  • 125g Caster sugar plus 2 teaspoons
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon boiling water
  • 50g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. Prepare 12 cupcake cases on a cupcake tray.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  3. Beat the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder in a bowl for about a minute until light and creamy.
  4. Spoon half the cake mixture into a separate bowl.
  5. Blend the coffee powder with the boiling water and stir in half the mixture.
  6. Using a teaspoon, fill the paper cases with the two mixtures, then draw a knife in a circular motion through each cupcake to mix the mixtures partially together to create a marbled effect.
  7. Scatter the flaked almonds over the cakes.
  8. Mix the remaining 2 teaspoons of caster sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the cakes.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch.

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These guys came out well, and the flaked almonds with the sprinkled sugar and cinnamon gave a lovely crunchy topping to the bouncy cake and combines well with the coffee and vanilla flavours. They are great served as is, or with a dollop of fresh cream or vanilla ice-cream. And of course an after dinner cup of coffee…to make sure you stay awake!

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White Chocolate Vanilla Cupcakes

I love the simplicity of cupcakes and how they can also become these intricate and complex little pieces of art if you want and have the time. Decorating is the best part of baking, in my opinion. But no matter how pretty a cake or cupcake looks, if it doesn’t taste good, well, I don’t see the point…So having a simple but delicious recipe for cupcakes is a must! And this is just the ticket…

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White Chocolate Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 125 grams softened margarine*
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs – lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2-3 tablespoons of milk

* Don’t use low fat spreads as they don’t have enough fat content to bake well. Always use margarine for cupcakes as it makes a flatter cupcake (easier to frost and decorate). Also don’t cream sugar and margarine for cupcakes as this also helps to make flatter cupcakes.

Method:

  • Take eggs and margarine out of the fridge beforehand so they are at room temperature.
  • Pre-heat oven to 180C.
  • Place all ingredients (except for the milk) into a bowl and blend on high until smooth.
  • Add a little milk to make a smooth dropping consistency.
  • Either place mixture into a piping bag and place nozzle at the base of the cupcake case and squeeze once so it fills halfway; or use two spoons and again only fill the cupcake case halfway.
  • Place in the oven for 12 minutes.
  • Then turn the cupcake tray around and bake for another 8 – 12 minutes depending on the size of the cupcakes and your oven (turning the cake trays half way through the cooking time helps to even out the effects of hot spots in your oven).
  • Take out the oven and let cool completely before frosting. Even little cupcakes retain their inner heat for a while so wait for at least 4 hours, or overnight would be even better.

Ingredients for white chocolate frosting:

  • 100g white chocolate
  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 140g icing sugar, sifted

Method for white chocolate frosting:

  • Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of gently boiling water, or by placing it in a microwave safe bowl and heating it on High for 1½ minutes giving it a good stir at the halfway point. white chocolate has a lower heating temperature than milk or plain chocolate so it scorches very easily. Leave it to cool.
  • In the meantime, beat together the butter and icing sugar in a large bowl until creamy and light.
  • Fold in the chocolate and mix until smooth.
  • This icing can be kept for up to two weeks if covered and chilled in the fridge, but if you’re chilling it, you need to bring it back to room temperature before icing the cakes.

Decorating ideas:

  • As soon as you take out the cupcakes from the oven, cut an “x” into the top of each cupcake and press a small chocolate truffle/ Rolo / any chocolate into the middle. These will then melt into the cupcake. Leave to cool before decorating.
  • Grate white chocolate into little curls, sprinkle onto cupcakes then sift a light dusting of icing sugar.
  • Crush Oreos, Flakes or Maltesers and sprinkle onto cupcakes.
  • Roughly chop up Rolos and throw onto the cupcakes – gives a nice little caramel flavour.

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I have made this recipe many times and people always go crazy for the frosting. I love to get creative with the decorating so these guys become real winners on both looks and taste.

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You can see the chocolate truffles stuffed in here (these were a combination of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes)…

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